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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pre-professional Schools - Finding a Good One

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Hi, jumping in late in the game.


1. I agree that the term pre-professional lacks accuracy but, like other terms that are not entirely correct, it has become sort of a slang to describe schools that focus purely on training ballet students to a professional level.


2. I feel that the size of the school has little to do with how well it can train it's students. I know some large ballet schools, some even connected to ballet companies, that cannot train as well as some very small and little known schools. It depends on the ability of the teachers to train properly and if they have that knowledge, it matters little where they are or the size of the school.


After that, I am happy to find a dance site that is all about ballet. It is not all that I teach but I hope it will help me to become better informed in my craft.



Edited by abdwybabe
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Oh my first post since we're back up (and my the screen seems so much brighter-good job-always like it when it works out like that).


The talk about pre-pro school got me thinking. What do I think would make a good prepro school? :lol:


Plenty of classes


Teachers who give corrections and take the time to really look at each dancer.


A lack of the slackness of a DD school and a lack of the arrogance of a FOT (full of themselves) school.


School's philosophy takes into account that when a parent pays for a technique class, the child receives a technique class, not a technique/rehearsal class. They are not the same thing. Instead rehearsal would be held at a separate hour after class.


Offer useful seminars and workshops to focus on say, turns or petite allegro


Begins earlier with the teaching of variations, by breaking down the steps at the barre


Expects a certain standard of behavior because this is part of training to become a dancer


I also agree that the attitude of the students can be a reflection of the school's teachers' attitudes.


Wait I thought of one more for above:


Classes are 20 and below with an average of 12-15 dancers (this is why you'd need so many classes)


Also think in this time right now that participation in various competitions would be available. Not necessarily forced, the dancer would approach the school about assistance. But the school wouldn't so much be training to the competitions (like academic schools train to those standardized tests, so they say), instead be in the available and offered training to assist the students to reach their competitive goals mode.


Have pilates and onsite physical therapists and whirlpools for therapy.

Actually, the pt's patients would be a good source for some of the classes so you'd need to offer beginning level lessons. It also offers REAL beginner's lessons as distinguish from the class geared toward the dancer who has the basic terms and understanding of the movement, but not perfected to the dancer's goal.


BUT stop just short of yoga, this is a ballet studio not a ballet/yoga studio. This is a prejudice of mine that yoga is for slackers. No offense intended. I know the poses take focus and a certain amount of energy. I'm just hopelessly dense in this belief, with all due respect. I think it is because every time I've practiced yoga, the breathing almost puts me to sleep. I can't say why but see that's why I think it is for a certain level of discipline but not as disciplined as ballet. So sorry, my ideal prepro would not offer yoga. If I was proven to be wrong, I would acquiese, I'm sure.


Have rules in place to restrict access to parents and also to the dance students. This makes it more comfortable for company and staff members since no one is allowed in their dressing rooms\offices. And there are private studios where parents are not allowed. I envision that Nanterre is like this, but I could be mistaken.


I think that you do have to give credit to the earlier training because sometimes school's attached to companies are more like 'finishing' schools: they're looking for the talent and the technique is already there. They are adding the polish.


The beginner classes therefore may need to be restricted. So not the best place to study at the pre-advanced level. Which contradicts my thoughts above, so scratch the whirlpools and pt's. :shrug:

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Wow Rhapsody! That sounds like the pre-pro school that we've all been looking for! Do you know the name of this school? :(

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If a school says that they offer students the opportunity to audition for their youth ballet company and that their youth ballet company offers those students a pre-pro experience, would the school be considered pre-pro, at least for those who are accepted? The studio seems to meet some of the other qualifications, with seriousness toward ballet study, plenty of hours in class, even for those who aren't in the company, and a curriculum that focuses on ballet and not on competitions and other forms of dance like hip-hop. Also, is it signifantly better to attend a school where everyone is pre-pro (like a residency program) or a school where there are enough students to have a dedicated pre-pro track if your child wants to dance professionaly someday? Does the answer depend on the age of the child? In other words, is there a specific age where this becomes a much more important consideration?

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Quality training is quality training. It doesn't matter if it is a residence school or not, if the quality is equal. High school is the age for decisions, but it's not always necessary to leave home.

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Our standard guidance here is to find the very best instruction you can find for your child to fit your circumstances and to consider residency only if there are no other options for you within a reasonable driving distance. Therefore, the answer to what is best or what is "significantly better" will be different for each family, each family's circumstance and of course, the quality of the instruction you are able to find nearby (or not). Circumstance is a big word, it covers finances, family stability, siblings lives, etc. etc.


As Ms. Leigh has stated, the quality of the instruction is what is important. You can certainly get a feel for things by asking questions of the home studio in terms of what the last few years of graduates have done post high school. Did they dance? Did they go to top dance colleges? Does the school encourage those with talent to go away if it is determined that the school cannot offer them what is needed?

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